Chocolate Rum Balls (Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free)

If there was ever a Christmas dessert made especially for the grownups, it would have to be chocolate rum balls. I mean, chocolate and alcohol delivered in a delicious, bite-sized morsel? This idea was always going to work and become hugely popular around the world. Here is a recipe for Christmas rum balls that is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan-friendly.

Chocolate Rum Balls For Christmas (Paleo, Gluten-Free,Vegan)

What Are Rum Balls Made Of?

Rum balls are similar to truffles and are usually made with ground-up cookies, butter, chocolate, rum and a variety of other ingredients all rolled into small balls and coated with cocoa powder, sugar, chocolate sprinkles, coconut and so on. They are popular in many countries, especially around the Christmas holidays.

My wickedly delicious chocolate rum balls are made with slightly healthier ingredients as I wanted to create a version that was gluten-free and dairy-free.

I am using almond meal, cocoa powder, shredded coconut, coconut oil, maple syrup and raisins. My other twist is adding orange zest to the mixture as I really like the jaffa flavour (orange and chocolate combo).

They are super easy to make – absolutely no cooking involved – and your kids can help to roll the balls. This brings me to the next point…

Can Kids Eat Rum Balls?

Rum is kind of the quintessential ingredient here, and because this dessert is not cooked, the alcohol doesn’t evaporate. However, my recipe only uses 30ml of rum, which is not a lot in each individual ball. It’s up to you if you want to give them to kids. It was never a problem in our household and I would always get one as a treat.

It’s possible they will run around like crazy chickens for a while but that might be the sugar rather than the rum. Feel free to leave the rum out completely and instead use 30ml of orange juice.

What Kind Of Rum Goes In Rum Balls?

The type of rum type and the brand you use depends on the recipe as different countries have their own versions.

Dark rum seems to be the most common choice as it has a sweeter, more developed flavour. You could use Mount Gay rum or dark Bacardi or go for something more sophisticated like an aged dark rum or a spicy rum. I avoid Malibu rum as it’s full of sugar and more coconut-flavoured. 

Christmas Rum Balls With Chocolate & Orange (Paleo, Gluten-Fee)

Recipe Tip: You will need a food processor to make these chocolate rum balls. If you don’t have one, chopping all ingredients very finely and mixing by hand will also work.

How Long Will Rum Balls Last?

Because these balls are dairy-free and have alcohol and sugar (in the form of maple syrup and raisins), they will keep really well. I usually store them in a big Tupperware container in the fridge but leave them out at room temperature for a few hours before serving so they can soften a little. I’d say 2 weeks in the fridge is a very safe bet. 

Can I Freeze These Chocolate Balls?

Yes, in fact, that’s a very good strategy if you make too many and you want to avoid the temptation of eating too many of these. Here is how to freeze chocolate balls

  • Place a piece of parchment paper on a plate and place the chocolate balls on top.
  • Wrap the plate and place in the freezer for 1-2 hours.
  • Once frozen solid, transfer the balls from the plate to a container or a Ziplock bag and freeze for 3-6 months.
  • Thaw out in or out of the fridge

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know what you think in the comments below. 

More Healthy Christmas Treats

Full Recipe 

Find the full list of ingredients, instructions, and a nutritional breakdown below. If you have questions or cook this recipe, please let me know in the comments, and make sure to rate this recipe so it’s easy for others to find.

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Chocolate Rum Balls

Chocolate Rum Balls (Jaffa-Inspired)

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 20 balls
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: European
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Calories: 102kcal
These jaffa-inspired chocolate rum balls are easy to make treats that are great for Christmas and any other time of the year. These are gluten-free, vegan, paleo-ish and raw.


  • 1 cup almond meal or other ground nuts
  • 30 ml dark rum about a shot glass or 1 fl oz.
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sultanas or raisins
  • Zest of 2 oranges about 1 tablespoon
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut unsweetened
  • Extra cocoa and desiccated coconut for dusting


  • Place all ingredients in a food processor. Process into a thick, doughy mixture. It should be coming off the sides and sticking together.
  • Roll into small balls using your hands. Note that your hands will be oily from coconut oil inside, which makes it very easy to roll the balls without the mixture sticking to your fingers — no need to wet your hands.
  • Dust the finished balls with some desiccated coconut and extra cocoa powder. Place on a plate and refrigerate, covered with cling wrap.
  • Store in an air-tight container in a cool place, refrigerator if possible, before serving. These should keep for a week, if not a little longer.


Raw cacao or cocoa powder can be used. Ground up seeds could be used instead of almond meal. You could also add some flaxseed or chia seeds to the mix.
Rum can be omitted and replaced with 30ml orange juice.


Serving: 1 ball | Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 57mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Keywords: Snacks, Chocolate, Kid-friendly, Dessert, raw energy balls, Jaffa
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookedandloved or tag #cookedandloved

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Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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  1. You are an evil lady! These look divine… I think I am over Christmas eating and it’s not even Christmas Eve yet but I can justify these delightful paleo treats.
    Lovely site btw.

  2. I made these for Christmas Day. They were delicious. Had no sultanas so used chopped dried apricots and used the orange juice instead of rum. Went down a treat. Any chance there is a white christmas version as the younger kids didn’t like the taste of the cocoa.
    Many thanks for the unbelievable recipes you have on this website they are fantastic.

    1. Thanks Laura 🙂 If they like coconut, you could make something similar with a little coconut cream, extra shaved coconut, apricots, and maybe some vanilla extract. I’ll have to think of a white version 😉

  3. I made these using half hazelnut flour half almond flour – tastes sort of ferrero roche like!

  4. Can I substitute coconut flour for the almond flour. If yes do I use the same amount. Thank you so much.

    1. You can but use less coconut flour as it tends to absorb more moisture. Try using 1/2 or 3/4, depending on how thick the mixture gets.

  5. We’ve made about ten batches of these in the past few weeks… they’re amazing and super addictive!

    Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  6. Yummo!! I whipped up a batch of these for Christmas dinner and they were a huge hit! And so quick and easy. That little bit of rum went a long way- they sat in the fridge for four days and were pretty potent- but very delicious!!

  7. Hi. They look yummy. I’m thinking of using this receipe for a party on Saturday. Could I make them on Friday and keep them in a fridge? If it means it’ll impact on how fresh and delicious they are I’ll just make them on the Saturday instead. Thanks.

    1. Hey Andy, I made these a few days ahead of time & they were fine in the fridge!! Got a little more potent but still amazing.

  8. These are delicious! Made them multiple times and are a big hit in my family. A great healthier alternative to regular chocolate truffles.

  9. Used this recipe as a base…

    Didn’t have enough coconut oil, so it ended up being more rum, no oranges either or sultanas (dates instead). I did add a scoop of whey protein as I found it too wet (and not sweet enough). Popped them in the freezer, then the fridge and wow. Super easy (clean up took longer) and way better than the recipe I attempted last week.

    5 stars from me 🙂

  10. I want to make these for my children….you think I could use the juice of the oranges instead of the rum?

  11. Hi,
    Thinking of making these rum balls for Xmas. Can you replace the orange zest with 2-3 drops of orange essential oil?

  12. Do you think if I use another oil base instead of coconut oil, for eg. nuttellex melted or olive oil the taste would be much different.

    1. The cacao taste is quite strong so probably not. Olive oil might be a little overpowering here though. Another thing to note is that the coconut oil isn’t just for taste thing but it also solidifies when cool, so it helps to hold everything together.

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